Camp Ranao, Marawi City — Local chief executives and security officials mulled over proposed measures to bring both long-term solutions and security arrangements in Lanao del Sur Province in Mindanao.
29 Town officials and high-ranking military officers in Lanao del Sur discussed the possibility of implementing sustainable measures to preempt the “spillover of the conflict in the City of Marawi” and the infiltration and recruitment of terrorists in areas of the Province.
Saying that fighters of the Daesh-inspired group are already running out of ammunition and food, Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command, urged the local chief executives to assist the government forces in preventing enemy reinforcements.
“We are nearing the end of this prolonged battle with the penetration of our troops into the main battle area, but we beseech your consideration and assistance. We believe that the top leaders are still in the battle area, but we do not discount the possibility of reinforcement and retreat. This is where the key involvement of local government units comes in,” said Lieutenant General Galvez.
Addressing the town officials, the WestMinCom chief said, “It would be best if you look after your lakes and your respective areas.”
An official from Lumba-Bayabao municipality said checkpoints were established by members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team and passage of motorboats along Lake Lanao was also monitored within their coastal barangays.
“We are preparing our constituents so that we will be able to make ourselves ready. We want our BPATs to be trained so that we can take appropriate actions when needed,” added Dagalangit.
He also recommended that a system be implemented to validate the identities of local terrorists.
Balindong Mayor Benjamin Bagul, said that he had been monitoring movements to prevent the entry of possible reinforcements in his area; however, he also presented that fishing industry within their Lakeshore barangays has been limited due to security restrictions.
“We have registered and authorized 126 pump boats, however, we are also affected by the tightening of security as fishing can no longer be done from 3-5am, but only at 6 am and beyond,” added Bagul.
In response, Lieutenant General Galvez said that he will bring the issue for resolution and that he believes it would be best to have fishermen in the lake area from time to time so that they too can also serve as watchers who will report suspicious boats to authorities.
Masiu Mayor Nasser Pangandaman also shared his good practice of repainting the fishermens boats and assigning control numbers to each. According to Pangandaman, those who violate regulations were seized by the local government.
One official also said that there some folks from other municipalities jn Maguidanao who come to their town in Kapatagan to recruit would-be members of the terror group.
Responding to the said concern, LtGen Galvez said, “You can create your inner defense, if you need it, we can provide you with training and support for security if you request for it.”
“We will not leave you in this fight. We will make forces stay within the area. You will not be left out, you just have to do your part,” added the WestMinCom chief.
“For now, help your security sector swiftly address the present problem in Marawi by guarding your respective areas. Do not allow these terrorists to use your towns as recruitment areas and safe passage.”
“Make a stand against terrorism, and we will also make a stand for all of you,” concluded LtGen Galvez.
The activity ended with the group agreeing to regularly meet every Wednesday in the Provincial capitol with the presence of Provincial officials and and the military to specifically address issues and hear out recommendations and good practices of the LGUs.